Reece clarifies statement on ambulance response time
Green Forest Mayor Charles Reece issued a clarification this week of a statement he made regarding an ambulance response time during an incident in Green Forest.
Reece was quoted in a Dec. 1 Carroll County News story as saying that it took 45 minutes for an ambulance from Ozark EMS to respond to a call in Green Forest, when an ambulance from Mercy Hospital in Berryville was at the Green Forest fire station less than a mile from where the incident occurred.
After meeting with Ozark EMS owner Leon Cheatham on Tuesday, Reece apologized for not verifying the information that he said was given to him.
"I made a statement that an incident which happened several months ago on the Green Forest school campus," Reece said. "I relied on information which was given me that the ambulance was dispatched from Berryville when one was within one minute of the school and the ambulance service took 30 to 45 minutes. I stand corrected. I did not verify that information and for that I apologize. The ambulance in Green Forest was close by, but returning from another call. The ambulance was dispatched from Berryville and arrived in 13 minutes, according to records provided by Ozark ambulance service. I apologize for any discomfort this may have caused to the principals involved."
Ambulance calls in the eastern half of the county have been dispatched on an alternating basis between Ozark EMS and Mercy Berryville since the beginning of the year. Cheatham confirmed in the Dec. 1 story that Ozark EMS is no longer taking calls in Green Forest unless a Mercy ambulance is not available. He said Thursday that because Ozark EMS does not currently have an ambulance stationed in Green Forest, he made the decision not to accept calls in Green Forest for the sake of patient safety, although his company does serve as a backup there if a Mercy ambulance is unable to respond to a call.
Cheatham said he appreciated Reece's statement regarding the response time.
"I think he's trying to do the right thing," Cheatham said.
The Carroll County Quorum Court is expected to vote at its Dec. 21 meeting on a proposed ordinance that would establish an ambulance district in the eastern portion of the county.